Hundreds of philosophers participating in World Philosophy Day“Philosophy and the human condition today,” such is the theme chosen for World Philosophy Day (16 November) this year, in Rabat. Some one hundred philosophers from all over the world will travel to the Moroccan capital, from 15 to 18 November, to take part in debates organized for the Day.*
Debates on 15 and 16 November at the Mohammed VI international conference centre, Skhirat, will examine subjects including “Philosophy, diversity and cultural communication,” “Modernity and the condition of women,” “Teaching, communicating and translating philosophy,” and “Religious awakening and open society.” At the close of the discussions, participants will adopt the “Rabat Declaration on Philosophy.” A tribute will also be paid to Moroccan intellectual Mohammed Abed Jabri and to German philosopher Hannah Arendt.
The philosophical dialogues “Encounters of Asia and the Arab Region with modernity” will bring together philosophers from some 20 countries in these two regions on 17 and 18 November at the Golden Tulip Farah Hotel. They come in the wake of the meeting held in Seoul (Republic of Korea) on “Democracy and Social Justice in Asia and the Arab World,” in November 2005.
At UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, over 150 international experts will participate in the conference on “Philosophy as Educational and Cultural Practice: A New Citizenship” on 15 and 16 November (Room II). The conference will focus mainly on the issue of new philosophical practices, notably teaching philosophy to children. Organized by the French Committee of “New Philosophical Practices”, the meeting intends to show that philosophy is not an elitist activity but, on the contrary, one that is essential for the life of the city.
The conference “A Century with Levinas: Levinas-Blanchot, Thinking the Difference”, at UNESCO from 13 to 16 November (Rooms XI and XII) will examine the common points but also the differences between Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) and Maurice Blanchot (1907-2003). Organized by the Association pour la Célébration du Centenaire d’Emmanuel Levinas, the event will bring together some 70 speakers from about 15 countries.
Launched by UNESCO in 2002, World Philosophy Day will be celebrated this year in many countries. Philosophy Day encourages people to share their different philosophical traditions and inspire debate on the challenges confronting modern societies. It intends to raise young people’s awareness of philosophy, not just as a school subject, but as an instrument that can help them reflect better on contemporary issues and ways to tackle them. Some countries, such as Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Norway and Turkey, have already taken measures to introduce philosophy as early as primary school. Developing the teaching of “critical thinking” or ethics in many countries also reflects growing awareness of philosophy.